GOP Rep Leads Bill that Says NCAA Must Allow Players to Profit from Name and Image
The NCAA must allow student-athletes to use their name, image, and likeness, opening the door for players to profit while in school, under a new bill proposed by Congressman Mark Walker (R-NC) and lead co-sponsor Congressman Cedric Richmond (D-LA). The Student-Athlete Equity Act would penalize the NCAA if they restrict athletes from earning money on their own time. It would jeopardize the NCAA’s tax-exempt status, a substantial penalty given that college sports rake in roughly $1 billion in revenue. “Student-athletes deserve the right to protect their name, image, and likeness that amateur sports organizations, such as the NCAA, currently restrict,” Richmond said. Among NCAA men basketball players, 45% are Black; among football players, 39% are Black. “These athletes generate enough revenue to pay for state-of-the-art athletic facilities, massive coaching salaries, and even contribute to the endowment at their respective colleges and universities. As young men and women who stimulate the economics of the NCAA, they should also be able to secure their own economic well-being.” The bill’s introduction comes at the start of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. CBS and Turner Sports are in the middle of a 22-year, $19.6 billion television contract, which includes an eight-year, $8.8 billion extension signed in 2016, to broadcast the event through 2032. “Signing on with a university, if you’re a student-athlete, should not be (a) moratorium on your rights as an individual. This is the time and the moment to be able to push back and defend the rights of these young adults,” said Walker, a former college athlete and Vice Chair of the Republican Conference. The NCAA claims that it must maintain such a rigid definition of amateurism or else it would allow boosters free reign to spend money on recruits and players -- but that’s likely already happening. More here.